Transition to City Department

In 1956, the City of Alcoa purchased the electric system previously owned by Tapoco, a division of the Alcoa, Inc. For $1.8 million, the city acquired the system that served 7,139 customers. It was named the Blount Electric System.

Winfred K. West was superintendent of operations. He had already served Tapoco’s engineering department for 15 years, and he went on to retire as manager of Blount Electric in 1976. Clyde Dyer, an engineer at the Alcoa Inc. succeeded Mr. West. EW. Ostendorf, chairman and electrical engineer at Alcoa Inc., headed the Board of Directors.

Then, Blount Electric System served Alcoa and areas such as Rock Gardens, Eagleton Village and Lakemont; and rural communities such as Wildwood, Hubbard, Walland, Kinzel Springs, Mentor, Louisville and Calderwood. The rate per residential kilowatt hour was $.0132, and the average residential bill was $68.45 annually.

The 1950 census showed a population of 54,691 in Blount County and 6,486 in the City of Alcoa. At that time, 2,946 farms existed in the county, averaging 62 acres per farm with a value of approximately $8,221 per farm. Of those, 2,662 had electricity, 857 had motor trucks, 1,038 had tractors, and 1,939 had automobiles.

In 1989, a state resolution passed to dissolve the Alcoa Utilities Board and establish a new structure for the City of Alcoa and its utilities systems. In that year, the Blount Electric System’s name was changed to the City of Alcoa Electric Department, as it is still called today. The Electric Department reports to the city manager and is governed by the Board of Commissioners.

Over the years, peak demand grew from 33,810 kilowatts in 1964 to 60,000 kilowatts in 1975 and 188,269 kilowatts by the year 2015. Customers grew from approximately 7,000 to 28,500 during that same time. From a modest beginning, Alcoa Electric’s 60 employees now serve 28,500 customers in about one-half of Blount County and has $64,000,000 in annual operating revenue.